Arms and the Man

Catherine Petkoff Character Analysis

Catherine is Raina’s mother, an older wealthy woman who is delighted at the prospect of a marriage between her daughter and the wealthy, seemingly heroic Sergius. She cannot see through Sergius’s act and thinks him a perfect fit for her daughter. She often treats Nicola unfairly, and seems wrapped up in her own wealth and social status.

Catherine Petkoff Quotes in Arms and the Man

The Arms and the Man quotes below are all either spoken by Catherine Petkoff or refer to Catherine Petkoff. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Publications edition of Arms and the Man published in 1990.
Act 1 Quotes

I am so happy—so proud! It proves all our ideas were real after all.

Related Characters: Raina Petkoff (speaker), Major Sergius Saranoff, Catherine Petkoff
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2 Quotes

She is so grand that she never dreams that any servant could dare to be disrespectful to her; but if she once suspects that you are defying her, out you go.

Related Characters: Nicola (speaker), Louka, Catherine Petkoff
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

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Catherine Petkoff Character Timeline in Arms and the Man

The timeline below shows where the character Catherine Petkoff appears in Arms and the Man. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...what the furniture in the room is worth. Her reverie is interrupted by her mother Catherine Petkoff, who is “determined to be a Viennese lady” and therefore wears a fashionable tea... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Catherine chastises Raina for being up and out of bed so late, and Raina tells her... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...hear of Sergius’s success. She remarks that it “proves our ideas were real after all.” Her mother indignantly asks her to explain this remark, and Raina admits that she sometimes doubts whether... (full context)
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
...demeanor seems almost insolent. She also looks excited, but not in the rapturous way of Catherine and Raina, and she is clearly contemptuous of their romantic demeanors. She tells them that... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
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Heroism Theme Icon
...are cruelly slaughtering fugitives, and wonders what the point of such an exercise might be. Catherine ignores her and in a businesslike manner goes to make everything safe downstairs, insisting that... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...a man crawling up the water pipe into Raina’s rooms. Raina insists she heard nothing. Catherine calls a Russian officer into the room, and Raina stands in front of the curtain... (full context)
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...He tries his best, but falls asleep on her bed as soon as she exits. Catherine comes back and sees him asleep on the bed and calls him a brute—Raina begs... (full context)
Act 2
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Class Divisions Theme Icon
...house. Nicola is lecturing Louka about her manners, saying that if she does not improve, Catherine will fire her. Louka, defiant as ever, tells Nicola she doesn’t care what Catherine thinks... (full context)
...Petkoff enters, a cheerful but rather undignified man of about 50. Louka goes to fetch Catherine, who kisses Paul and is delighted to hear that the war has ended. (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
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Heroism Theme Icon
Catherine and Paul catch up, bickering amicably about changes to the house, including a bell that... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
...see Raina, who appears suddenly around the side of the house. Petkoff remarks aside to Catherine that Raina appears always at the right moment. Catherine impatiently tells him that Raina “listens... (full context)
Identity, Authenticity, and Self-Expression Theme Icon
Raina and Catherine act horribly offended by this story, and Raina wishes Sergius had refrained from telling her... (full context)
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Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
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...for thinking such a thing. Just as they are about to leave for their walk, Catherine enters and tells Sergius that Major Petkoff needs him for something. When he leaves, Raina... (full context)
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Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Now in private with Raina, Catherine calls the Swiss man a beast for spreading the story of their hospitality around, and... (full context)
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...to tell her a Servian officer has arrived and is asking for her. It takes Catherine a moment to remember they are at peace with the Servians. Louka tells her the... (full context)
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Captain Bluntschli greets Catherine warmly, and she tells him he was foolish to come, as the Bulgarians still hate... (full context)
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...warmly greeting Bluntschli by name and shaking his hand. He does not notice how nervous Catherine is. Sergius joins them and Petkoff apologizes that the servants have brought him to the... (full context)
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...know Nicola is innocent.) Nicola accepts the criticism, and Bluntschli is finally taken inside, as Catherine makes a gesture of despair. (full context)
Act 3
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Petkoff asks Catherine to fetch his old coat—he remarks it is not in the closet where he left... (full context)
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Romanticism / Idealism vs. Realism Theme Icon
Youth vs. Maturity Theme Icon
Catherine enters and sees Sergius and Louka. She asks to know the meaning of this. Sergius... (full context)